Michigan Association of School Administrators

Your Success. Our Passion.

Member Blogs

Blog Authors

David Britton, Godfrey-Lee
Rich Franklin, Athens
Scot Graden, Saline
Tony Habra, Paw Paw
Jerry Jennings, MASA
Michele Lemire, Escanaba
Vickie Markavitch, Oakland
Steve Matthews, Novi
Mike Paskewicz, Northview

MASA members: If you have a blog that you would like us to link please contact pmarrah@gomasa.org

Will we close our eyes?

Written by Steve Matthews on Jun 19, 2015
Yesterday in Charleston South Carolina, nine people who gathered in a church for a bible study were gunned down by a man who did not know them but who hated them because they were black.

I can't fathom hate like that.

Intellectually I know it exists.

Emotionally it is beyond what I can comprehend.

In Novi our work rests on two pillars. All of what we do - our work in curriculum, assessment, evaluation, instruction, and student growth is built on helping our students learn to write and to understand social justice.

Writing is an easy pillar to explain. If students can write, and write well, it means that they can think, that they can examine ideas, that they can reason, that they can communicate. Writing supports students as they learn math and science and social studies. Being a writer prepares students to enter into the conversations that they will have in the board room and the break room and the shop floor and the family room. Writing makes sense for a school district.

Social justice. This pillar is harder to explain to people. People push back against social justice. People suggest to me that this is not what the district needs to focus on. Social justice is too political they say. Social justice draws attention away from the important work that we must do in helping students learn the curriculum. Social justice is not a priority.

I disagree.

I don't care how smart a person is if that person cannot understand another person's point of view.

I don't care how smart a person is if that person is unwilling to reflect on the social and economic inequities that our country faces.

I don't care how smart a person is if that person does not want to hear another person's voice.

Smart is not the most important attribute we give our kids.

It is important - don't get me wrong.

And our district does a very good job of helping our students learn. Our district goals focus on our ability to move students forward, to prepare them intellectually for that next step in their life.

But "smart" is not the only thing that matters.

Compassion, understanding, the ability to see another person for who they are. The willingness to listen. The desire to work with, be with, live with, build with other people.

These attributes are just as important as "smart."

These are social justice attributes.

And in Novi I am committed to helping our students learn these lessons as well.

I want our students to learn these lessons so that we will not continue to close our eyes to the hatred that exists around us. I want our students to learn the lessons of social justice so that we can open our eyes and the eyes of others to the beauty of each and every life.

Community Conversation & Bond Discussion – June 10th & 15th

Written by Scot Graden on Jun 09, 2015

Saline Area School Community,

These are exciting and challenging times for Saline Area Schools.  Over the past several months I have had the opportunity to get feedback from many people, often in community meetings where there is a set agenda.  During these meetings, I have learned a great deal about how many of you see our district and it has helped guide me, along with the Board of Education, as we move toward a bright future.  I am now interested in sharing information regarding a potential November, 2015 Bond Proposal and getting feedback before it is finalized.

I will be sharing information on Wednesday, June 10th at 10:30am at Brewed Awakenings,  7025 E. Michigan Ave. and again on Monday, June 15th at 6:30pm in at Liberty School in the Media Center.  Please stop by, say hello and share your thoughts on the scope of the proposal.

Thank you,
Scot Graden

Oakland Schools Board of ED Recommends New Superintendent

Written by Vickie Markavitch on Jun 08, 2015

“We believe we have a person in-house that has shown us, over the last 14 months, exactly the kind of leadership, purpose and momentum we are looking for”…

 Letter from the Board President

President of the Board Barbara DeMarco

June 8, 2015 – Last month the Oakland Schools Board of Education accepted the resignation of  Dr. Vickie L. Markavitch, who has been serving as the superintendent of Oakland Schools since spring of 2004. Since then, we have been considering the process we will use to select our next superintendent. We want someone who understands the important work of an intermediate school district (ISD), who understands the challenges we have overcome and those we are now facing.

We are proud to be overseeing an organization that has prospered, despite the recent recession; that has increased services and helped distressed districts with fewer resources. The conservative planning and tough decisions have yielded positive results for Oakland Schools. In the past decade we have coordinated cost-savings and collaborative efforts for the 28 public school districts in Oakland County, saving districts more than $78 million in 2013-2014. Our work directly impacts students from preschool through high school and in some cases into college:

  • We are growing Early Childhood education in our county, doubling the number of low income four- year-olds served.
  • We have worked closely with our Learning Achievement Coalition – Oakland (LAC-O) to improve literacy, mathematics, early childhood, and student engagement across the county.
  • We have seen significant progress in writing scores and steady gains in reading across the county, and we are steadily closing achievement gaps.
  • Our technical campus students are also seeing great success. Not only do  they earn college credit with 11 post-secondary institutions while they are in high school, but they also earned more than 1,300 industry-recognized certifications proving their readiness for high-demand careers.

Not all of our success is related to student growth and achievement. Over the last few years direct services to local districts in the areas of Technology, Business, Human Resources and Communications have grown significantly, especially for the Pontiac School District as they are in the first-ever consent agreement with the State of Michigan. And this is just a small sample of what we are accomplishing. All one has to do is thumb through our annual District Service Report to see the scope of our work and all we are achieving.

Everywhere we look we see evidence of improvements and success, and we believe we owe much of this to our outstanding leadership team. Their guidance has provided many opportunities for Oakland Schools’ growth. Their vision, dedication and ability to adapt as our district’s needs have changed have positioned Oakland Schools as the go-to service provider for our local school districts. We are once again held in high regard and have earned the respect of our colleagues and peers locally and across the state. We believe it is critical to our work and reputation to keep that momentum going. To ensure continuity of leadership, service and success, we have offered the superintendent position to current Chief of Staff, Dr. Wanda Cook-Robinson and have begun the process of negotiating a contract with her that will become effective July 1, 2015.

Dr. Wanda Cook-Robinson

During the last 14 months, Dr. Cook-Robinson has demonstrated her skills and expertise and we know she will provide the seamless leadership transition for Oakland Schools that will best serve our staff and customers. She is intimately familiar with the organization, having served as an Assistant Superintendent at Oakland Schools prior to becoming the superintendent of Southfield Public Schools, where she served for 10 years. In early 2014 she returned to Oakland Schools as the Chief-of-Staff to assist the superintendent with superintendent duties, serve as acting superintendent in Dr. Markavitch’s absence and to directly supervise Human Resources, Workforce Development, and cost recovery/ field services/programs in place with local school districts.

Dr. Cook-Robinson is a person that leads with vision, works collaboratively with others, solves problems strategically, uses data and research with diligence, and always keeps the best interests of children at the very top of decision-making. Dr. Wanda Cook-Robinson will serve the students and schools of Oakland County very well and we are fortunate that she will represent Oakland Schools with her exceptional leadership qualities.


Barbara DeMarco, President, Oakland Schools Board of Education


Blog Editor: Jean MacLeod, Communications/Oakland Schools


 Oakland Schools • 2111 Pontiac Lake Road • Waterford, MI 48328-2736 • 248.209.2000

Saline High School – Class of 2015

Written by Scot Graden on May 28, 2015

Saline High School
2015 Senior Class Survey

On Wednesday, May 13, the members of the Class of 2015 completed transcript cards where each student indicated where they would be sending their final transcript. The results for the 450 responses are below:

Michigan Colleges (334) 74%

Out of State Colleges (88) 20%

Michigan Public Colleges (310) 69%

Michigan Private Colleges (24) 5%

All Four Year Colleges (333) 74%

All Two Year Colleges (89) 20%

Military (2) <1%

Working Full Time (11) 2%

Exchange Students returning to home country (7) 1.5%

Young Adult Program (6) 1%

Interesting Numbers:

Michigan Private Schools 

Adrian College 4

Albion College 3

Baker College 1

Cornerstone University 1

Davenport University 1

Hope College 2

Kalamazoo College 3

Kettering University 2

Siena Heights University 4

University of Detroit Mercy 1

Michigan Public Schools    

Central Michigan University 22

Eastern Michigan University 41

Ferris State University 2

Grand Valley State University 23

Lake Superior State 1

Michigan State University 50

Michigan Technological University 4

Northern Michigan University 2

Oakland University 2

Saginaw Valley State University 3

University of Michigan – Ann Arbor 51

University of Michigan – Dearborn 5

Wayne State University 4

Western Michigan University 17

Michigan Career and Technical Schools 

AIS Training Center 1

Aveda Institute 2

Michigan Career and Technical Institute 2

Michigan Institute of Aviation and Technology 1

Motion Picture Institute 1

Michigan Rehabilitation Services 1

Michigan Community Colleges  

Jackson Community College 1

Kalamazoo Valley Community College 2

Schoolcraft College 2

Washtenaw Community College 74

Public Out of State Colleges

Appalachian State University 1

Ball State University 1

Bowling Green State University 2

Central Connecticut State University 1

Colorado State University 1

Florida Atlantic University 1

Georgia Tech 1

Indiana University 2

Miami University 1

Ohio State University 1

Ohio University 2

Oxford University 1

Purdue University 3

Southern Illinois University 1

Texas A & M University 1

University of Alabama 3

University of Central Missouri 1

University of Cincinnati 1

University of Connecticut 1

University of Hawaii 1

University of Kansas 2

University of Kentucky 2

University of Louisville 1

University of Minnesota 1

University of Nebraska 1

University of Passau (Germany) 1

University of Toledo 5

University of Utah 1

University of Windsor 1

University of Wisconsin –EauClaire 1

University of Wyoming 1

Utah State University 1

Private Out of State Colleges

Ashland University 1

Baylor University 1

Belmont University 2

Beloit College 1

Brigham Young University 3

Bryn Mawr College 1

Butler University 1

Case Western Reserve University 2

Cornell University 1

Clark University 1

Columbia College Chicago 1

DePaul University 1

Elmhurst College 1

Fransiscan University of Steubenville 1

Full Sail University 1

Hanover College 1

Heidelberg University 2

Johnson & Wales University 1

Loyola University Chicago 2

Marquette University 1

Massachusetts Institute of Technology 1

McNally Smith College of Music 1

New York University 1

Northwestern University 2

Norwich University 2

Princeton University 1

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology 1

Saint Mary’s College 1

School of Arts Institute of Chicago 1

Smith College 1

Taylor University 1

University of Dayton 1

University of Northwestern Ohio 1

Valparaiso University 2

Villanova University 1

Wittenberg University 1

Other interesting facts about the Class of 2015:

8        National Merit Semi-Finalists

8        National Merit Finalists

10      National Merit Commended Scholars

7        Students having a cumulative unweighted grade point average of 4.0

65      Students having a cumulative weighted grade point average of 4.0 or higher

111    Students having a cumulative unweighted grade point average of 3.667 – 3.999

92     Students having a cumulative weighted grade point average of 3.667 – 3.999